Major Words from a Minor Prophet

Dear Jack,

Lately I’ve been wrestling with some verses in Proverbs that promise wealth, riches, and other elements of success to those who are diligent, righteous, and/or prudent.  See Prov 10.4; 11.18; 12.11, 24, 27; 13.4, 11; 14.23; 16.3; 21.5; 24.33 as examples.  It seems to me though that something is missing with these verses.  I still struggle in knowing how to exactly interpret Proverbs, but even if they’re not meant to be understood 100% literal 100% of the time, there’s still a baseline assumption missing, I believe.

I think the Lord showed that baseline assumption to me over the weekend, via Habakkuk 3.17-19.  The book of Habakkuk is all about Habakkuk lamenting God for not saving Jerusalem.  However, at the very end of the book, he says

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s, he makes me treat on my high places.

This is what’s needed before we can receive blessings from God: the impartiality of acceptance.  We need to get to the point that Habakkuk does at the end of his book: being okay with whatever circumstance comes.  Whether our nation falls.  Whether our home burns.  Whether our family gets sick.  Whether we remain single our entire lives.  The outcome is irrelevant – God’s most interested in our hearts.  And, I believe, if our hearts are in the right place, then if we put into practice what Proverbs and Solomon tell us to be (diligent, righteous, prudent, etc.) we can reasonably expect to receive God’s blessing, with a giant asterisk: *He might not.  And we need to be okay with this.  If we’re not, we can’t expect to receive anything.

Till next time, Jack.



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